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Readers' response and questions

Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Blog questions:

• Did you attend the May 9 protest on the Capitol steps? If so, do you think the protest accomplished anything?

• Do you think Gov. Sarah Palin should call a special session to address statewide energy relief?

• What's the most drastic change you've made to cut back on your energy use?

• Do you plan to continue to conserve after hydro power from Snettisham is restored?

• Are you pleased with how the city responded to Juneau's energy crisis?

• How have you been affected by this crisis?

• Do you think Juneau will be a stronger and better community after the energy crisis is resolved?

Past questions:

Will you take advantage of AEL&P's proposal to 'levelize,' or average, payments over 12 months?

No response

What sacrifices have you made to cope with Juneau's energy crisis?

Loretta Pittman says:

I do not use my clothes dryer. I have been hanging my clothes on the clothes line. I disconnected my cable TV, so I don't have my three TVs running anymore. I had AEL&P install a timer to turn off the hot water heater, and we are only using the hot water heater three hours a day.

Sophia says:

I talked to one of the workers at a local business, and they had to lay two people off. Sundays they shut totally down, and she lost her overtime hours, which were helping make her wages livable. How livable? I don't know as she isn't paid much to begin with. So she has lost wages but still has the increased electric cost to pay. While I commend those who are cutting back on their lifestyles and conserving, I think the girl I talked with from this local business is making the ultimate sacrifice. There are others out there like her. Where is the silver lining for them?

Village Gramma says: We have been dealing with the high power cost in rural Alaska for years and years. Welcome to our world. Your problem will be over in a few months. I doubt if rural Alaska's problem will be solved in my lifetime.

Working Class says: Village Granny, you chose to live in "WILD ALASKA," and we chose to live in "Civilization." Quit trying to compare the BUSH to the CITY!

Jessica says: I, too, have sacrificed a lot, as a mother of three boys: There is no more going out to eat; I make easy enough dinners not to be using the stove; lights - what lights? I feel like I am constantly sitting in the dark. I am afraid of getting depressed constantly being in the dark. I live in low-income (housing), and if I cannot afford to pay for the electricity I lose my home. I get the boot. Next week, I get to cancel my cable television. I need to cancel my newspaper, cancel my cell phone, cancel, cancel, cancel this or that. I am really afraid of getting a bill I can't afford. I feel helpless, hopeless. I don't feel right about AEL&P putting that line right back where it fell from ... isn't there a saying, shame on you once, shame on me twice, shame on you and me the third time? Something like that.

Mother of 3 says:

I just posted in the other Empire blog about investing in solar, etc. I have done what the rest of you have done regarding TVs, computer time, washing clothes, etc. I, too, was getting depressed sitting in the dark and afraid to turn on lights! How sad is that?

As it's turned out, I am handwriting letters instead of (spending) computer time. Reading more books (during the daylight) and sharing TV time. I am an artist as well and have to schedule my time during daylight hours.

It is very difficult to be a single-parent or to be on a fixed income. I know that some parents are working and are called the working poor because the money made is always a dollar or two over the organizations' income limit! Yeah, yeah, some say we made our choices, but the fact remains, parents make sacrifices and single parents make more.

I am wondering when support groups are going to show up in Juneau where we can meet and share our frustrations with each other - not just complain or talk politics, but talk about solutions.

Kim says:

Village Gramma, I agree with Working Class, you CHOSE to live out in the middle of nowhere, so quit comparing Juneau to where you live. It is like people who buy homes close to an airport and then complain about the noise. You chose to live there, so quit whining about it.

AlexInEcuador says:

Although I'm not actually living in Juneau at this moment, I will be back in about seven weeks and I just wanted to say how proud I was of my hometown. The other day, as I was exiting out of my Hotmail account, on the main MSN page I saw a small but noticeable headline for an article about Juneau's 30 percent reduction in electricity and it made me so proud to be from Juneau, Alaska. I bragged about it to my friends for about a week about how much we were probably helping the environment with this reduction. Yes, there are some downsides, but at the moment I'm living in South America, in the middle of almost nowhere and I have to do these kinds of things all the time. Now someone tell me that they have to do all that AND also live next to a rooster that starts its daily singing at 5 a.m. Not only that, but we have random power outages that can range from three to seven hours (and let me tell you, they do not cancel school for that).

But, anyway, since everyone is already hopping onto this "let's save energy" train, why doesn't everyone try to make an even bigger step in their ways of life and try to start recycling and using more efficient lights, or carpooling more? You've all already gotten this far, so why not go the extra mile and help out the environment?

Village Gramma says:

Ladies, I'm not the one whining, sheesh.

Bill S says:

From the AEL&P consumption stats (Energy Scorecard on the Empire's Web page) we can infer that we have about 234 kWh per day of non-diesel power (which must be the Salmon/Gold/Annex creek plants). That means non-diesel power was 25 percent on the first crisis day and it's now up to 39 percent; on the first day 75 percent of each kWh depended on diesel, now only 61 percent of each kWh depends on diesel. I hope that means the more we save the less each kWh costs us. Because each kWh we use shares and shares alike in that cheap non-diesel power that means that if the south Franklin street T-shirt shop turns on all of their advertising and display lights they will get the benefit of our frugality and we'll have to pay more for the power we use! (I would be glad if an engineer corrects me.)

Also, I fail to see how reducing cable service to Basic saves any electricity.

lp says:

I have done what everyone else has done. What I want to know is when AEL&P submitted its request for a rate increase, it estimated it would use 100,000 gallons of diesel per day. Since Juneau is using less than half that estimate, why are we still going to have to pay for 100,000 rather than the 42,000 to 45,000 gallons per day? I think something should be done to prevent AEL&P from making even a bigger profit during these hard times. Also, why didn't AEL&P have insurance for the towers and lines like it has on everything else?

Avigayil Tikvah says:

As funny as this sounds, this has been a blessing to our home. We read and walk outside more often then staying indoors. These are the changes I made in the family:

• Dry all clothes on lines either indoors or outside.

• The Coleman light has become a fixture in several rooms.

• We take "sink" baths or very short showers.

• We are eating the foods in the freezer so we can unplug it. We unplugged the extra refrigerator.

• We unplugged every thing except for phones and the computer. We have only one "movie night" a week for two hours.

• I only listen to music on the radio while in the car.

• I have the latest power pack techno with a do-it-yourself, winding-up handle to charge the batteries for the built-in radio, flashlight and it will charge my cell phone.

• I turn down the temperature on the hot water heater.

• We use a flashlight when needed.

• We switch to using the wood stove, and the family is sleeping in sleeping bags in the living room.

• I monitor the weather for "no precipitation" so we can wash loads of clothes to hang outdoors.

• I purchased "Big Ben" and "Baby Ben" clocks and unplugged the digital alarm clocks.

• We pull the blinds and read by window lights.

• We go to bed earlier and get up earlier to get more things done at home while there's light outside.



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